Emergent patterns of localized damage as a precursor to catastrophic failure in a random fuse network

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • S. Lennartz-Sassinek
  • M. Zaiser
  • I. G. Main
  • C. Manzato
  • S. Zapperi

Research units

  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Cologne
  • Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • CNR
  • Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation


We study the failure of disordered materials by numerical simulations of the random fuse model. We identify emergent patterns of localized damage prior to catastrophic failure by statistically averaging the density of damage around the eventual failure nucleation point. The resulting pattern depends on fracture density and obeys the same scaling relations as would be expected for the stress field generated by a critical crack nucleating in a finite, disorder-free effective medium of varying size. The growth of this critical crack absorbs preexisting clusters according to a well-defined scaling relation. Unfortunately, in single model runs such precursory signals are not obvious. Our results imply that reliable and accurate prediction of failure in time-independent, microscopically brittle random materials in a real case is inherently problematic, and degrades with system size.


Original languageEnglish
Article number042811
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 13354442